Terrion Arnold knows it takes elite competitiveness to try and play cornerback. That goes double for playing cornerback under Nick Saban or in the NFL, but he has a competitive nature that has been developed all the way from the very beginning.

During the 2024 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions used a 1st-round pick on Arnold, picking the Alabama star No. 24 overall. Arnold is the prototypical player for head coach Dan Campbell, and he should immediately improve Detroit’s secondary.

While taking part in the team’s rookie minicamp, Arnold met the media and reflected on his mother as his “rock.” He called her a blessing and traced his competitive roots back to his family.

“My mom, she’s been my rock. I wouldn’t be in this world without her, and I’m just very grateful and very blessed to have her as my mom,” said Arnold.

According to Arnold, part of his upbringing involved racing and wrestling with his mother, and no one took it easy. In fact, Arnold said he would jam his mother “into the dirt” today if she lined up at receiver.

“My competitiveness, that grows in my whole family. Even as a kid, When I used to beat my mom in racing, I had to continually beat her. When I was younger wrestling around or fighting with her, I’ll never forget that one time my mom kicked my tooth out because we were just going at it so hard,” Arnold explained.

“If my mom was out here right now and she lined up across from me as a receiver, I’d jam her into the dirt. That’s my mindset. And my mom knows that right now.”

At the end of the day, Arnold is using an example to explain his competitive nature, but that’s still the kind of energy you want from a young cornerback. We’ll see how it helps him translate his skill set to the NFL.

Terrion Arnold rookie outlook

Arnold is likely to see the field early as a 1st-round pick, but he also steps into an area of need for the Lions. The team was very middle of the road with 16 total interceptions a season ago, and Detroit had the 6th-worst passing defense in terms of yards with 4,205 allowed.

The younger cornerback will get a chance to be an immediate difference-maker for the Lions, and that is reflected by Arnold having the 3rd-best odds to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year at ESPN Bet. Dallas Turner leads the pack at +400 while Arnold is given +1000 odds to take home the honor.